In my role as president, I have had the opportunity to meet presidents from many other congregations. Inevitably, the conversation would turn to the challenges we face. And each time, I’d hear some horror story that would reminded me how very lucky I have been during my time as president.
While it is true that serving as president is a huge undertaking, it has also been hugely rewarding. I would like to take this opportunity in my final address to thank all of the many people whose hard work and dedication have made my job so easy – the people who take care of us, our children, our money, our building, and our spiritual lives.
During the week, Cindy Evans and Alene Goren-Taylor juggle hundreds of tasks both small and large to keep our office running smoothly. On Sunday mornings & Wednesday nights you’ll see Arielle Gilley or Abigail Kaberon helping you with whatever you need. They are our face, eyes, and ears. As president and member, my mind is put at ease just knowing that anyone who calls or walks into the office will be taken care of by these wonderful people.
Robin Arbetman and Marci Sperling Flynn take superb care of our children in their diligent and loving management of our religious school and preschool, respectively, and Zak Wainer engages our young adults in OPTY. With them, I have felt confident that our children, both young and old, always have someone looking out for them at OPT.
Our bookkeeper, Grace Varga, takes care of our money. Thanks to her, I can breeze in, sign the checks, and know that our accounts and bills are in order.
Miguel Ramirez, Mario Villafuerte, Jorge Castaneda, James Crowder, Brenda Edwards, and Shonna Hyles take expert care of our building and do a fabulous job of setting up our many events. We have kept them especially busy this year with all the extra sesquicentennial celebrations.
And I’m sure I don’t have to tell each of you this, but Danielle Sandler takes care of everyone and everything! Her wise counsel and advice have been especially invaluable to me during my term.
Our temple hums and my term has run even smoother because of the incredibly large group of volunteers among us who put in hours and hours of work to make our events and programs so successful.
I have felt supported every day as your president. It truly takes a village.
Last but not least is my compass. As president, I could not have served you as well without the amazing clergy that guides our spiritual lives daily. Rabbi Weiss, Cantor Green and Rabbi Emeritus Gerson are the heart and soul of our congregation and keep us focused on living a meaningful life.
Guiding me also has been our board. I am so proud of the care and respect the board members have shown each other as we struggled and deliberated through critical issues and decisions.
When I first started this job, I was prepared for the occasional issue or complaint. What I was completely unprepared for was what I heard much more often. “Thank you. Everything is going so well.” This sentiment echoed by many over the last two years is a testament to what a wonderful home we have here at Oak Park Temple. So my final thanks is to all of you reading this for granting me the privilege of serving as your president.
I am keenly aware that the time is quickly approaching when I will assume the coveted role of Immediate Past President. In this new role I will continue to reap the benefit of all the amazing people here, but thankfully with a little less of the responsibility. I look forward to supporting Deb Holdstein who will take over as president. I hope I can do as good of a job in this new role as Jeff Blaine has done for me.